THOMAS WOLFE: Beyond the Romantic Ego by Leo Gurko

THOMAS WOLFE: Beyond the Romantic Ego

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Gurko begins by summarizing the various objections (anonymous here) that have been leveled against Thomas Wolfe, including complaints about his ""intellectual virginity,"" his ""derivative"" style and emotional stance and his ebullient bigotry. But while Gurko's rebuttal is unabashedly partisan, he does display a sensitivity to these (and other) barriers which might stand between Wolfe and contemporary students, and his summaries--well larded with quotations--actually make one eager to get started on the books themselves, not just Look Homeward, Angel but its successors which Gurko praises as experimental strainings beyond the novel form. This alone would make a superior introduction for young people, but Gurko also provides an individualized critical viewpoint--not just a glutinous rehash of other commentators--which stresses Wolfe's debt to Joyce and affinity with Dos Passes and downplays those familiar analogies to the romantic poets. Given Wolfe's limitations, his racial outlook in particular, this informed appreciation still may not sweep away reader resistance; however it certainly confirms Leo Gurko's reputation as a first class guide to American writing.

Pub Date: May 23rd, 1975
Page count: 183pp
Publisher: T. Y. Crowell